Sunday, March 20, 2011

Line 4, Mary Fiske, The Female Puritan Influence

Before going on with Anthony Fisher’s son, I need to say something about Anthony Sr.’s wife, Mary Fiske. There are always two sides to each story and Mary, while not much is known about her personally, came from a family rich in Puritan influence. There definitely had to have been something about Mary as well as her husband that influenced her sons to pick up the Puritan banner and sail to the New World.

Mary Fiske was probably born in the early 1560s in Frankingham, Suffolk, England
She was the daughter of Nicholas Fiske and his wife Johan Crispe who was the daughter of William Crispe and his wife Anne Godbold.
Mary Fiske married Anthony Fisher
Died April 1640 and Buried 11 April 1640 in Syleham, Suffolk, England
The children of Anthony and Mary Fisher were:
1.      Joshua Fisher
2.      Mary Fisher
3.      Anthony Fisher
4.      Amos Fisher
5.      John Fisher
6.      Cornelius Fisher
7.      Martha Fisher
8.      Hester Fisher

Mary was born into a family that had lived in or around Laxfield, Suffolk, England since the time of the Norman Conquest. She may have descended from fishermen, as her maiden name is believed to have been the Norman version of “Fish”. While not noblemen, the Fiske family seems to have prospered over the years, producing yeomen, sheriffs, artisans, wheelwrights, clergymen and university educated sons. They also produced religious rebels who caused enough upheaval in the English religious community to produce at least one martyr and many persecutions among their family.

The most well known of the Fiske martyrs was actually the brother-in-law of Mary’s mother, Johan Crispe. Johan’s sister, Anne married John Noyes whose story is written in Foxes’ book of Martyrs. Fox wrote: “About the same time as those persons whose fate we have just recorded, suffered John Noyes, and his apprehension and death were brought about in the following manner:

Some bigoted papists, who dwelt in the neighborhood, knowing him to be a professor of the true faith, and a despiser of the mass, and other Romish superstitions, determined to bring him to punishment; and accordingly, three of them, named Thomas Lovel, Wolfren Dowsing, and Nicholas Stannard, beset his house, and he attempting to go out, Nicholas Stannard called to him and said, " Whither goest thou *" to which he replied, "To see some of my neighbors." Stannard then said, " Your master hath deceived you; you must go with us now." To which Noyes answered, " No, but take you heed your master deceive not you." And so they took him and carried him before the justices the next day. After several matters had been alleged against him, he was conducted to a dungeon at Eye, where he was confined for some time, and was then carried from thence to Norwich, and before the bishop, where he was interrogated…” John Noyes denied “the pope's supremacy, the use of ceremonies, and Christ's real presence in the sacrament.

Upon this, sentence was read by the bishop against him, in the presence of Dr. Dunning, his chancellor, Sir W. Wood- house, Sir Thomas Woodhonse, and several other gentlemen.
No further particulars of his examination are known; but we have the following account of his subsequent conduct and execution, from which we learn, in some measure, what took place on his appearance before the bishop:
In the mean time his brother-in-law, Nicholas Fisk, of Dinninpton, going to comfort him at such time as he remained in the Guildhall of Norwich, after Christian exhorCation, asked him if he did fear death when the bishop gave judgment against him, considering the terror of the same; and the said Noyes answered, he thanked God he feared death no more at that time, than he or any other did, being at liberty. Then the said Nicholas required of him to show the cause of his condemnation.”

“ The following letter was written by Noyes to his wife, while he lay in prison.
Wife, you desired me that I would send you some tokens that you might remember me. As I did read in the New Testament, I thought it good to write unto you certain places of the Scripture for a remembrance. St . Peter saith, 1 Pet . iv., "Dearly beloved, be not troubled with this heat that is come among you to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you, but rejoice, insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory nppeareth ye may be merry and glad. If Cbe railed on for the name of Christ, ppy are ye, for the Spirit of glory, and the Spirit of God, resteth upon you.

" It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.
" See that none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or an evil doer, or as a busy body in other men's matters; but if any man suffer as a Christian man, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in his behalf; for the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God. If it first begin with us, what shall the end of them be, that believe not the gospel of God i Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit their souls unto him in well doing."

The letter continues with Scripture, justifying Noyes’ faith and that of the Puritans. He ends with this reminder of his faith and his willingness to die for it:

“So fare ye well, wife, and children: and leave worldly care, and see you be diligent to pray.
" Take no thought, (saith Christ , Matt . vi.) saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed ? (for after all these things seek the Gentiles) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things, but seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and the righteousness thereof, and all these things shall be ministered unto you…."
John Noyes was sentenced to be burned at the stake. His last words as he was bound to the stake were: " Fear not then that can kill the body, but fear him that can kill both body and soul, and cast it into everlasting fire."

John Noyes died 22 September 1557, just a few years before Mary Fiske was born. It is not hard to imagine how influenced the Fiske and Fisher families were by this example of a faith that could not be quelched even my flames. It is certain that it inflamed the beliefs of the Fisher family as they became, at least in part, even stronger in their Puritan beliefs. It would be interesting to study some of the lines that remained in England to see if they stood strong in their beliefs and joined Cromwell in the English Civil War that began 1642, about five years after Mary’s sons Joshua and Anthony Fisher and their brother Cornelius arrived in the New World.

Mary’s father, Nicholas Fiske, died between 20 August 1569 and 28 September 1569 when his will was proved. He left his sons and daughters legacies, adding that “Wife Johane shall well and honestly educate and bring up my four children, namely Rachel, Ester, Mary, and Martha, my daughters, until they shall be of lawful age.” “Marye” and her sister Rachell, Ester and Martha were left 10 pounds each. Mary must have been a very young child as no husband was named for herself or her sisters, as was the custom in that century. There is some debate still going on about just who Mary’s mother was, but I feel the evidence strongly points to Johan Crispe who was Nicholas’ wife at the time of his dead.

In her sister, Esther Fiske’s 20 March 1578/9 will, Mary is named along with her sons, John and Cornelius.

It is not known when Mary, herself, died. Anthony and Mary Fisher's sons John named both parents in his 1636 will, as did Cornelius in 1638. Anthony Sr. was listed in the burial records of 11 April 1640 and Mary, his widow, was appointed administrator of his estate eight days later. No will has been found for Mary. It would be interesting to know if she survived to see the beginning of the English Civil War. Being born just after her Uncle’s martyrdom and living to see the Civil War could have given Mary a sense of fear and hope that her faith would be vindicated. As a mother, she probably felt relieved that her sons and grandchildren were out of war’s harm, but still have missed her children and wondered why the Puritans couldn’t have controlled England just a bit sooner.

1. Dedham Historical Register, 1890, Vol 1, Published by Dedham Historical Society
2. "Gen. and Personal Memories" Edited by William Richard Cutter
3. "The Fiske Family" from Genealogical Research in England Communicated by the Committee on English and Foreign Research contributed by G. Andrews Moriarty of Bristol, R.I. (from the NEHGR's book on "English Ancestries of New England")
4.  Fisher Facts, Vol I, 1974, No. 1, page 1/74
5.      New England Historical and Genealogy Register, Vol ___, No. ___, April 1997 The English Ancestry of New England Settlers Joshua and Anthony Fisher"
6. William Crispe of Laxfield, Suffolk Great-Grandfather of Anthony and Joshua Fisher of Dedham, Massachusetts by Clifford L. Stott, July 1997 New England Historical
and Genealogical Register, page 291
7.  Internet Derick Sibley Hartshorn III
8.  "Richard Fisk(e)'s Descendants
9.  "Fiske Family"
10.  Fressingfield, Suffolk, England Parish Records

My Fiske line:
Hugh Fiske, b. about 1370 in Laxfield, Co. Suffolk, England
Simon Fiske b. about 1399 in Laxfield, Co. Suffolk, England m. Susannah Smythe
Jeffrey Fiske b. about 1425 in Laxfield, England d. 1504 m. Maraget ? d. 1504 in Laxfield, England
Jeffrey Fiske b. in Laxfield, Co. Suffolk, England died there after 1535
Richard Fiske b. 1493 in England
Nicholas Fiske b. 1517 in Laxfield, Co. Suffolk, England; d. 1569 in Dennington, So. Suffolk, England m. Johan Crispe daughter of William Crispe 1490?-1553 and Anne Godbold daughter of
Mary Fiske 1561-?, m Anthony Fisher 1558-1640
Joshua Fisher 1585-1674 and also his brother Anthony Fisher 1591-1671

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Line 3.2 Anthony Fisher; Father of a Flock of Puritans

It is a good guess that Anthony Fisher, second son of William and Margerie (Bert) Fisher, was or became a stanch Puritan as three of his sons joined the the Fleet that followed John Winthrop's initial Fleet of ships carring Puritans to Massachusetts and the City on a Hill. Swayed by the continually changing religion in England, Anthony Fisher seems to have swung toward Calvinistic ideas, shaping the theology of the next generation.

Anthony Fisher was born shortly before 01 February 1557/58 when he was baptized in Stradbrooke, Syleham, Suffolk, England
Married Mary Fiske daughter of Nicholas Fiske and his wife Johan Crispe
Died April 1640 and Buried 11 April 1640 in Syleham, Suffolk, England
The children of Anthony and Mary Fisher were:
1.                  Joshua Fisher baptized Syleham, Suffolk, England, married 1. Elizabeth ? who died in 1638 in Redenhall, Norfolk, England. Joshua married 2. Anne  Orfor. He died in Dedham, MA 18 October 1674
2.                  Mary Fisher baptized 28 November 1589, in Syleham and married Roger Briggs
3.                  Anthony Fisher baptized 23 April 1591 in Syleham. He married 1. Alice ? and 2. Isabel  Rigben. He died in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA on 18 April 1671
4.                  Amos Fisher was baptized 26 April 1594 in Syleham. He married Anne  Morrice and died in 1660 in Syleham.
5.                  John Fisher was baptized 15 September 1597 in Syleham. He married an unknown wife and had two children who survived him. John was buried 04 September 1636 in Syleham.
6.                  Cornelius Fisher born 6 August 1599 in Syleham, Suffolk, England, baptized 19 1599 in Syleham, Suffolk, England, married Elizabeth ? and died in Dedham, MA
7.                  Martha Fisher baptized 25 January 1595/96, Fressingfield, Suffolk, England, married John  Buckingham and died 31 March 1659 in Syleham.
1.                  Hester Fisher baptized 25 January 1595/96, Fressingfield, Suffolk, England and buried there 06 February 1607/08

Anthony Fisher, son of William Fisher and his wife, Margerie Bert was born shortly before his baptism on 01 February 1557/58 in the Syleham church. The family was living at "Wignotte" Syleham, Co. Suffolk, England on the south bank of the Wavenay River, which separates the county from Norfolk. Anthony was the second son and third child of William and Margerie Fisher.

Anthony was born into a Roman Catholic England in the middle of a religious “war” with itself. Mary Tudor, the unhappy daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, the Spanish princess, Katherine of Aragon, was in poor health. She was a godly woman with a strong faith but her rule had been a blood bath of terror. The protestant church was having a baptism in blood but it was growing stronger with the persecution.  Nine months after Anthony Fisher was born in little Syleham,  Elizabeth Tudor became the Queen of England and the Puritans sighed with relief. The relief was short lived. Elizabeth took the title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She chose the middle road and balanced her religious ideals (what there were of them) between the Catholic and the Protestant churches with great determination. Elizabeth took a middle road but she fought a religious war with the Catholic who believed she was not the legitimate Queen of England and the Puritians who though her “religion” was watery and deluted with Catholism. The Puritians were out to “purify” the Church of England. They were unhappy with the elaberate Roman Catholic type ceremonies and creeds that the Church of England had adopted. They wanted a church that resembled a more simple faith that was based on the Bible. They were not content to sit back and have a quiet faith. They wanted their faith to make an impact on England and the world.

Young Anthony grew up in an England that was eager to get it’s religious equalibriam back. There were still many who wanted the Roman Catholic church back but there were also many who wanted more reform to the protestant church that Elizabeth represented. We can only guess at what or who it was that gave County Suffolk and the Fisher family a leaning toward puritisiam. In the Twenty-First century, we tend to think of the Calvinist as theogoically simplistic and legalistic. They may have lended towards legalism but they were educated and determined people. The printing press had opened up the Bible and the world to them. The middle class was rising because they could now be educated. The Bible-hungry masses were now able to read the Bible in their own language rather then listening to services conducted in Latin. They could now find out for themselves just what the Bible taught. Calvinism brought forth the realization of education for the masses as well as the need for “elected” preachers who could lead their flocks in the way the Calvinists (which included the Puritian movement) felt was correct. County Suffolk was ripe and ready to move ahead.

Anthony Fisher married Mary Fiske, daughter of Nicholas Fiske and his wife Johan Crispe, on 16 Oct 1586 in Fressingfield. Their marriage is recorded in the church there. They had at least eight children, including Joshua, Anthony and Cornelius who would immigrate to the New World with the Winthrop Fleet.
 Anthony FISHER was mentioned in several wills, including his fathers, his brother, William's who also names Anthony's children. Anthony and Mary's son John in 1636 gave annuities to his parents, as did their son Cornelius in 1638. The Fishers were wealthy enough to leave wills and prosperous enough to have felt the blessing of God that marked the Puritan movement.

Anthony Fisher was buried the eleventh day of April 1640 and his widow Mary was appointed administrator of his estate on 19 April 1640. It is not known when Mary died, but both she and Anthony were alive when their three sons joined the migration sailed for the New World to live in the City on the Hill.

1. The Dedham Historical Register, 1890, Vol 1, published by the Dedham Historical Society
2. Cornelius Fisher's Will
3. Syleham Parish Records
4. Internet Derick Sibley Hartshorn III,
5. New England Historical and Genealogy Register Vol 151, April 1997 "The English Ancestry of New England Settlers Joshua and Anthony Fisher by Myrtle Stevens Hyde and John Plummer
6.  Syleham, Suffolk, England Parish Records
7. Excerpts from the Parish Records of Stradbroke, Suffolk,, Anglicised version of the original entry which was written in Latin
8. Excerpts from the Parish Records of Fressingfield, Suffolk,